Don't let the revolving door hit you on the way out

That was fast:

It used to be that lawmakers were coy about any ideas they had about heading for K Street, waiting until their terms ended before announcing they were beginning a more lucrative career.

But in recent years, members of Congress planning to become lobbyists have not been able to wait. In fact, when Florida Republican Mel Martinez this week accepted a position with the mega-lobbying and law firm DLA Piper -- less than two weeks after resigning from the Senate -- it brought to five the number of former lawmakers since 2007 who have abandoned their constituents midterm and almost immediately resurfaced with lobbying firms, according to data provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The other four are Democrat Al Wynn, who lost the 2008 primary to Donna Edwards in MD-04, and Republicans Dennis Hastert (IL-14), Richard Baker (LA-06) and Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi.

Martinez met with folks from DLA before he formally stepped down from the Senate but stressed that the firm extended "no financial terms, no offer, no details" to Martinez until after he resigned Sept. 9.

"We didn't have any discussions with him until he decided to leave the Senate, and we didn't conduct any negotiations with him of any sort until he had left the Senate," said John Merrigan, a DLA partner. [...]

Martinez, who is barred from lobbying his former colleagues for two years, will advise clients on government affairs, litigation, financial services, real estate, energy, defense, infrastructure development and other matters, according to a DLA press release announcing his arrival. [...]

According to the firm, DLA has an office in Tampa, and Martinez will spend the bulk of his time working from Florida.

Sounds like more fun than being in the 40-member Republican Senate caucus, and it's certainly a lot more lucrative.

There's more...

GOP Sen Martinez Defends Sotomayor

The video is over at Real Clear Politics for those interested, but here's what Florida's Republican Senator Mel Martinez had to say about Sonia Sotomayor:

CNN reported that Judge Sotomayor recently received a "big boost from the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate." Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) said that, "For someone who is of Latin background, personally, I understand what she is trying to say. Which is, the richness of her experience forms who she is. It forms who I am, that does not mean that that she has allowed that to filter her opinions, at least not that I've seen so far."

Per the Associated Press, Martinez also believes that Sotomayor will be confirmed "with pretty good numbers."

Doing all the math, then, with Martinez seemingly backing Sotomayor, Maine's two Senators not particularly likely to support a filibuster of her nomination (it's hard to see how they come out in strong opposition to the nomination), and at least a handful of other Republicans likely to back the President's pick (seven of the current 40 Republican Senators have already voted to confirm Sotomayor), it's awfully difficult to count up to 41 votes to sustain a filibuster. Am I missing something?

There's more...

FL-Sen: Sink Reconsidering Bid

Jonathan reported last night that Florida CFO Alex Sink announced her intention to run for re-election rather than challenge Mel Martinez for his Senate seat. Now that Martinez has decided not to run again, however, Sink may be reconsidering.

From The St. Petersburg Times:

U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez's abrupt decision to not seek re-election could have a titanic effect on Florida politics. Here's one of the first signs: Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who would be considered a formidable Democratic candidate, is reassessing.

Politico.com quoted an anonymous source Monday as saying Sink would seek re-election as CFO, rather than run for governor or Senate in 2010, and hours later, Martinez announced he won't run. The Florida Democratic Party was expected to issue a statement Tuesday confirming that but it didn't happen. Said Sink's spokeswoman, Tara Klimek: "I can tell you that she's not ready to talk about her future."

The reason the question of whether Sink is in or out is so crucial:

Sink beat Republican Tom Lee in the 2006 CFO race. She has 28 years of banking experience, is from the vital I-4 corridor, and is well-liked in the business community. A Sink candidacy would narrow the field of Democratic candidates in a hurry.

There's more...

Alex Sink Seeking Senate in Florida?

Cross-posted at www.draftalex.com

n689468099_962883_7922It's pretty obvious that people are hoping that Alex Sink tosses her hat in the ring or higher office. The question we hope she's facing right now is which one: Senate or Guvna?

There are perhaps a few too many calls for Alex Sink to be our Senate nominee.  This morning, Blast Off! even called for her to run for Senate and forget about the governor's mansion.

At Draft Alex Sink for Governor our bias is pretty obvious. But, think for a second about why running for Senate wouldn't be as good as a move.

First, just in terms of personality and experience, Alex is perfectly suited to be governor. She's been an executive- and that's what a governor theoretically does (just don't look to Charlie for an example). Dan Gelber, Bob Wexler, Allen Boyd- these men are legislators- damn good ones, if I may. Their skills and interests fit the profile of a Senator more than Alex's do.

There is a crowded bench already. Alex would have to compete with the likes of Dan Gelber and Chris Korge, maybe Allen Boyd, or even Bob Wexler. Those are some serious players, who could all represent the state well and some will run if she gets in or not. Alex could win the primary and the general, but why go for Senate to when the bench is already so deep, so good.

Winning the senate seat back is going to be tougher than we imagine. Sure, it looks a lot easier than beating Charlie does, but we're two years out from the election- things change. Charlie should start to look more like a do-nothing, and Mel Martinez might decide to gracefully bow out, leaving the Republicans to nominate someone who could give us more of a challenge. In short, get excited about another Democratic senator, but don't bet money on it just yet.

While there's a crowded bench for Senate, there is literally no bench for governor- outside Alex Sink. If Democrats want to stop losing the state, then we can't cede races like the 2010 gubernatorial. We need to not only nominate a candidate, but we need to nominate a good one. Right now, no other Democrat is really dipping the proverbial toe in the water- no one, not even Rod Smith.

And, there's my peace.

There's more...

Registered Republicans: Only Minority Group GOP Can Win?

Cross-posted on draftalex.com

If you didn't catch it, Mel Martinez was on Meet the Press this morning. And, Mel had this to say about his party and Hispanic voters:

"Hispanics are going to be a more and more vibrant part of the electorate and our party better figure out a way to talk to them...Sen. McCain did not deserve what he got, he valiantly fought for immigration reform, but the (anti-immigration) voices in our party, if they continue we're going to be relegated to minority status."
[Insert obvious joke about Republican minority status here.] So, here's the breakdown on Hispanic voters in FL for you.
  • Nationally, Kerry only won 53% of the Hispanic vote; Kerry won just 44% of Florida Latinos. Latino voters were 8% of the national electorate in 200; 15% of the FL electorate.
  • In 2006, in the general gubernatorial election, Davis and Crist each won 49% of the Latino vote. Latinos were 11% of the electorate.
  • Obama won 67% of the Hispanic vote nationally; in Florida, Obama won 57% of their vote. Nationally, Latino voters were 9% of the electorate; in Florida, they made up 14%.
Another fun note to make is that 2008 was the first time in which there were more registered Hispanic Dems in Florida than Hispanic Republicans- by a 100k margin. And although these statistics don't take into account the differences between Cuban and non- Cuban Latino voters in Florida, it does give a good overview of how the Latino vote helped Obama to carry Florida and win the White House. It also shows why Florida Democrats need to nominate candidates that can win over the Hispanic voters of the state.

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